North Holland Blood Red 'Redmate' is an excellent duel purpose variety of onion. It can be harvested early and eaten as a mild salad onion or, if l if thinned to 7.5cm (5in) between plants and left to grow it will produce beautiful coloured, mild flavoured bulbs
It is a colourful variety which is red near the base and recommended to liven up the salad bowl.
Red bulb onions are mild and the sweetest tasting of all onions. They are usually used raw on sandwiches or chopped as a condiment. Red bulb onions mature in the late summer and store well. Red onions are sometimes referred to as Italian onions.
Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn. Do not plant or sow on freshly manured bed. Lime if the soil is acid. Avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the onion family. Many exhibitors grow their show onions in a permanent bed in order to build up fertility, but in the kitchen plot it is a much better idea to change the site annually.
Apply a general fertiliser if needed and rake the surface when the soil is reasonably dry. Tread over the area and then rake again to produce a fine, even tilth.
Timing: Sow in Autumn or Late Winter to Spring
Seeds can be sown direct in autumn to be harvested in 46 weeks to produce large bulbs (not advisable in very cold areas) Otherwise sow in February under cloches or direct March to April and harvest in 22 weeks. In cold areas and for exhibition bulbs sow under glass in January, harden off in March and transplant outdoors in April.
Sow very thinly in 12mm (½in) deep drills, leaving about 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) between rows. Water very gently if the soil is dry, and cover with soil.
When large enough to handle, thin the crop in two stages. Close spacing will give smaller onions than wider spacings. Lift the seedlings carefully – the soil should be moist and all thinnings removed to deter onion fly. (They may be used as spring onions) .
Thin Spring-sown seedlings first to 2.5cm (1in) then when the seedlings have straightened up to 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) apart. Thin Autumn sown onion seedlings to about 2.5cm (1in) in the autumn. Further thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) between plants in the Spring.
Seedlings raised under glass should be transplanted 4in (10cm) apart, leaving 9in (23cm) between the rows. The roots must fall vertically in the planting hole and the bulb base should be about 12mm (½ in) below the surface. Plant firmly.
Hoe carefully or weed by hand – dense weed growth will seriously affect yield. Water if the weather is dry (not otherwise) and feed occasionally. Feed an autumn-sown crop in March. Mulching is useful for cutting down the need for water and for suppressing weeds. Break off any flower stems which appear. Stop watering once the onions have swollen and pull back the covering earth or mulch to expose the bulb surface to the sun.
When the bulb is mature the foliage turns yellow and topples over. (Some gardeners bend over the tops as the leaves start to yellow). Leave them for about 2 weeks and then carefully lift with a fork on a dry day.
Inspect the bulbs carefully – all damaged, soft, spotted and thick-necked onions should be set aside for kitchen use or freezing. The rest can be stored.
The onions which are not for immediate use must be thoroughly dried. Spread out the bulbs on sacking or in trays – outdoors if the weather is warm and sunny.
Drying will take 7 to 21 days, depending on the size of the bulbs and the air temperature..
Store in trays, net bags, tights or tie to a length of cord as onion ropes.
Choose a cool and well-lit place; they will keep until late spring
The the skin of a white onion will give shades of orange while the skin of the red onion can be used to create a medium green, slightly lighter than forest green.
If you have just painted a room and the fumes are a little overwhelming, slice an onion in half and place it in a bucket of cold water. Leave the bucket in the room overnight. The fumes will magically disappear (or a least be reduced a fair bit).
How to slice an onion without crying:
Freeze the onion for ten minutes before cutting. The sulphuric compound that leads to tears will not react as quickly when it’s cold. If you forget, just light a candle, as a burning flame can burn away the sulphuric fumes.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 800mg Average Seed Count 200 Seeds Common Name Salad or Bulbing Onion, Red Onion Other Common Names Dual Use Onion Family Alliaceae Genus Allium Species cepa Cultivar North Holland Blood Red, Redmate Synonym Noordhollandse Bloedrode Hardiness Hardy Biennial Germination 21 days Time to Harvest Standard Maincrop Notes Stored seed viability: 1-2 years. Yield from a 10 ft row: 4kg (8lb). Stored seed viability: 1-2 years.